The Nelson Leafs have found their ace between the pipes.
Nelson has acquired Castlegar product, and longtime Rebel Andrew Walton from the Fernie Ghostriders for defenseman Braeden Hikichi and future considerations.
In Walton, Nelson gets a proven #1 goaltender: the 20 year-old showed time and time again during his 3 and a half years with the Rebels that he could steal a game if necessary. He's a 2-time divisional goaltender of the year (2009-10 in the Neil Murdoch division, 2010-11 in the Eddie Mountain), and of course was traded by the Rebels last December in the deal that saw Mike Wiest and Jamie Vlanich come to Castlegar.
In Hikichi, the Ghostriders get a power-play quarterback who can also log a ton of minutes on the back end. Nelson relied heavily on the 19 year-old last season when their blueline was decimated by injury.
As you might expect, Mountain FM and our Nelson sister station 103.5 the Bridge will have audio reaction tomorrow: Leafs head coach Chris Shaw has been out of town but was kind enough to inform me of the trade by phone this afternoon. As always, any and all audio will be posted here once it's aired on our stations.
Our friends in the Elk Valley at RiderNews have more on the deal here.
Bits & Bites: Fernie has acquired the man they feel could take over for Walton between the pipes, snagging 19 year-old Chris Solecki from the North Okanagan Knights. The Burns Lake product has a career 4.19 GAA in 55 appearance in Armstrong over the past two seasons. Revelstoke has named their new coach: he is Randy Quakenbush, who was an assistant with the Grizzlies last season. Former Castlegar coach Rylan Ferster stepped down as bench boss and GM last week. Stay tuned to Mountain FM/103.5 the Bridge as I've heard from multiple sources on another trade involving Nelson, though nothing has been confirmed by me with anybody yet.